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Van Journal Week 5: Tassie Tour With Mum

Van Journal Week 5: Tassie Tour With Mum

Home in motion…

After spending over a month living out of our new van, we can comfortably say that we’re getting used to the whole “van life” thing. It’s certainly true that a home on wheels is a great ticket to freedom but it does come with some necessary caveats that aren’t shown on socials. Something that I didn’t anticipate is just how much cleaning and maintenance is required. You’d think that living in a small space would mean less to clean but it’s as if the opposite is true.

Let’s just say that after spending most of last week strapped into a backpack, filthy and smelly, we had a fair bit of cleaning, washing and repacking to do. I thought that after living in guesthouses and hostels for so many years I would have the practice down pat. Unfortunately, though, things are a bit more complicated when you’re moving your entire house around. The infamous “washing day”, a familiar ritual shared by van lifers and grey nomads alike, is at least a whole-day event.

On this occasion, we wanted to make things a little extra sparkly while also making additional space for my mum, Caroline. She had booked a last-minute flight to Hobart to join us on a week around Tassie.

Bruny island
Olly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler & adventure photographer for 6 years with 700+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

First Snow

If you followed our past one month journey, then you’d already know we’d enjoyed sunny coastal weather and warm swims on the east coast. I guess it’s true when they say that Tasmanian weather changes in an instant.

A cold snap had brought blistering winds and snow to southern Tassie. Driving into Hobart, Mount Wellington was already frosted white on its tip.

This was a shock to my mum. She had flown in from warm, tropical Cairns and suddenly found herself throwing snowballs on Mount Wellington. It was funny to see just how much the tropical climate had spoiled her. Mum had lived in Sweden for her first 26 years and now she wore thick sailing jackets and double fleece, still shivering on a 9 degree Autumn day.

Still, it was heartwarming to see her smile as she got her first glimpse of snow in over twenty years. Even though it was just slask snö.

Mount Field National Park

Next on the agenda was Mount Field National Park. Weather didn’t permit a trip to the alpine area but we still enjoyed an incredible hike on the Three Falls Track.

Tasmanian waterfall at mount field national park

Mount Field National Park is home to some of the tallest flowering trees in the world. Taking the longest loop through the park allowed us to glimpse at some of the most impressive, as well as seeing three magnificent forest waterfalls.

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Camping at Brady’s Lake

A night out in the Tassie wilderness is something that every visitor should experience. Camping at Brady’s Lake was definitely one of the highlights of the week, even though it was a decent stretch from Hobart. The weather was clear but the wind was still fierce. Lucky we had our van and not a tent.

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Camping at Bradys Lake

Bradys lake tasmania

When we arrived, we parked our van on the edge of the lake and began gathering gathered firewood. Once we got it going, we thought we’d try to shield the fire by parking our van in the way of the wind. However, this made things worse as it created a whirlwind of smoke that would whip about and coat us as we cooked. But after moving the van a couple of times, we finally had the position figured out– until mum got up and her chair blew into our campfire!

The wind didn’t bother us. It was great to spend time with mum away from any distractions, drinking wine and keeping warm by eating roasted marshmallows by the fire.

Camping at bradys lake tasmania

Glamping at Huon Valley

The Huon Valley was already on the list of places to visit with mum. Fortunately for us, we were invited to stay at Huon Valley Campground to photograph and promote a new glamping business.

It was a unique experience to stay in the glamping tent, something that I hadn’t done before. It seems that covid isn’t the only thing that is changing travel. New accommodation options are always being explored and it was a privilege to experience this new movement in one of the best setups in the country.

Huon Valley Campground is also home to two rescued Tasmanian Devils. Unfortunately, we didn’t spot any on our three-day hike around Maria Island, so it was definitely cool to see our first two here, albeit captive.

Tasmanian devil eating

Wild and Windy Weather on Bruny Island

The wind showed no signs of slowing down this week. But, being the optimist she is, mum didn’t show an ounce of worry.

Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder” she’d say. This translates to “there is no bad weather, just bad clothes” in Swedish. It made me laugh as I remembered her, a rugged up Swede shivering in above-zero temperatures.

As always, optimism persevered and we decided to make a trip to Bruny Island. We walked the Fluted Cape track, spotted a rare albino wallaby and camped at one of the southernmost points on the island at Cloudy Bay, as far from Tropical Far North Queensland as you can get in Australia!

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Cloudy bay tasmania

Reflecting on the Home in Motion

They say that when you’re travelling in the company of those you love, you’ve got home in motion.

I guess my small family have always known this. By the time I was ten we had already lived in five houses and immigrated to a continent on the other side of the world. This constant movement taught me that home isn’t roosted in cold bricks and mortar. Instead, it’s a feeling that travels with you, ready to fill you with warmth, reassurance and comfort each time you are in the presence of those you love.

I can thank my mum for instilling in me this unconventional idea of home, one that isn’t rooted in place but rather in family.

Camping with mum
Caroline gaspar
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel journalist & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. These draw on my personal experience to share unique itineraries, accommodation tips, & fun adventure guides covering hikes, viewpoints, beaches, waterfalls, & tours. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

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